The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has declared that the industrial actions often employed by the lecturers union are aimed at saving public universities from total collapse.
Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU President made this known in a statement issued at the end of the Union National Executive Council, NEC, emergency meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.
The union president said: “ASUU struggles are to save Nigerian public universities irrespective of ownership federal or state.”
Mr Osodeke also expressed dissatisfaction with the Federal Government over response its demands, hence its decision to declare a “comprehensive, total and indefinite” strike.
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He said ASUU shall use all legitimate means at its disposal to protect and defend the interests of its members in public universities who might be victimised on the account of the ongoing struggles.
Mr Osodeke said the NEC noted with pains, its concerns for Nigerian students “who are also our wards and foster children” and condemned government’s seeming indifference to their plights.
He said the union empathised with the students, parents, and other stakeholders in the universities.
He said NEC reaffirmed its belief in the sanctity of a stable academic system.
“Were it within our control, our universities would never have been shut for one day.
“However, ASUU was forced into taking this painful decision to prevent members of the Nigerian children from the ruling class and their foreign collaborators from further destroying whatever is left of our public universities. We are all victims.
“We need the understanding, solidarity and sacrifices of all to ensure that every qualified Nigerian youth who cannot afford the cost of private university education or foreign studies has unhindered access to quality university education,’’ he said.
He said ASUU strikes were aimed at saving public education, and ensuring that governments (Federal and State) use “our common patrimony to support quality public university education. This is our collective obligation.”
He said NEC acknowledged with appreciation past and current efforts by eminent Nigerians and groups to mediate in the lingering crisis.
He said that ASUU would remain focused on the full implementation of the Dec. 23, 2020 Memorandum of Action for quick restoration of industrial harmony in Nigeria’s public universities.
It would be recalled that the lecturers have been on strike since Feb. 14, over alleged failure of government to keep to agreements entered with the unions.
The demands of the striking lecturers include issues bordering on funding of universities, salaries and earned allowances of lecturers, among others.